Networking for Introverts - How to deal with Social Anxiety or Shyness
Social anxiety or Shyness can be a challenging issue to overcome, especially when it comes to networking. Here are some tips that may help:
- Be prepared: Do your research on the event, the attendees, and the topics that will be discussed. This will help you feel more confident and prepared, and may also give you some talking points to start a conversation.
- Practice, practice, practice: Practice your networking skills with friends, family, or in lower-stakes situations. This will help you build confidence and feel more comfortable when it comes time to network in a professional setting. Taking a public speaking or improv class, or joining Toastmasters may seem overwhelming but they are really fun and effective.
- Focus on the other person: One way to ease social anxiety is to focus on the other person and ask them questions about themselves. This takes the pressure off of you to be interesting or entertaining and may also help you find common ground to connect over.
- Take breaks: If you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious, take a break. Step outside for some fresh air or find a quiet corner to regroup. Taking breaks can help you manage your anxiety and come back to the networking event feeling more grounded.
- Seek professional help: If social anxiety is interfering with your ability to network or other areas of your life, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide tools and strategies to help you manage your anxiety and feel more confident in social situations.
Remember that networking is a skill that takes practice and patience. Be kind to yourself and take things one step at a time.